There was this building once. Some imposing Victorian edifice with nothing but forests around. I don’t know how I got there. One minute I was stuck in a corporate minefield, terror-filled, languishing, propped up in a sales meeting next to other nine-to-five corpses in suits. The next thing I knew, I was in a circle swapping coping mechanisms with other shellshocked survivors of life and mental misfits in gowns.
A small bearded man, who I later learned was in charge, crossed his short legs, leaned back, and stretched out his arms madly. ‘How about you. Yes you,’ he pointed. ‘What are your aspirations now you’re here?’
‘So, erm…I can put my socks on.’
‘Yeah, you know, those things you put on your feet to stop them sweating in shoes.’
‘I know what socks are. But that’s your main goal? To put socks on?’
‘It’s not my main goal, but it’s the only one I can think of right now,’ I said raising both bare feet in the air.
‘Well,’ he said rustling his beard, ‘it’s a good a place to start as any, I guess. It is all about emotional apparel, after all. You can put your feet down now.’
‘Hmm…How can I explain?’ he said rocking and hugging his shoulders. ‘Emotional apparel is what you wear in the morning, a bit like socks and pants no one else can see. They define how you feel for the rest of the day. You wear uncomfortable pants in the morning, you’re gonna be restless all day. Same with socks, put on a bad pair, walking’s gonna hurt. Life,’ he said slapping his cheeks, ‘is all about picking the right emotional apparel.’
Suddenly things slotted into place. My socks and pants were the problem. Over the winter, they put together an action plan so I could learn to wear socks with exuberance again, and avoid accidentally slipping on a pair of distressed pants in the process. It took some practice. I couldn’t get the hang of it until they forced pills down my throat; they kept my mind so wonderfully warm and cosy like a thick, knitted, cashmere beanie that the last thing I said as I walked into the forest was, ‘Now that,’ I said smacking my head with excitement, ‘is the mark of a good apparel. Thank you.’